Finding the Safest Car

by Lithium Technologies ‎08-24-2015 02:18 PM - edited ‎09-04-2015 09:31 AM (3,262 Views)


Buying a new car? Learn how to find one that offers the best protection for your needs.


There were more than 5.5 million vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That equates to more than one accident every 5 seconds, with 1.5 million resulting in injury and 30,000 resulting in one or more fatalities. These statistics highlight the importance of driving a safe car. If you are evaluating your current vehicle or will be buying a new one soon, there are two organizations (NHTSA and IIHS) that serve as valuable resources, providing vehicle crash ratings and information on the how well safety technology works on the vehicles they test.



NHTSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation that conducts safety tests of each year’s new models, as well as those that have undergone major design changes or added advanced safety features. The vehicles are rated one to five stars, where five stars indicate the highest safety rating and one star the lowest. NHTSA performs four separate tests—frontal crash, side barrier crash, side pole crash and rollover resistance—before issuing its rating on each vehicle.



The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is funded by the insurance industry and performs crash tests that, in general, are considered more severe than those performed by NHTSA. IIHS is not able to test all car models, instead focusing on new models that are expected to be big sellers and those that display new or novel technology. For crashworthiness, IIHS rates vehicles as Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor, and in the area of crash avoidance and mitigation, vehicles with available front crash prevention systems are rated Basic, Advanced or Superior.


AAA recommends you look at models with the following:

  • High scores or ratings from both NHTSA and IIHS
  • The largest (heaviest) model meeting your transportation, performance and fuel efficiency needs
  • As many advanced collision avoidance technologies as possible, including blind-spot monitoring,
       backup sensor/camera, lane-departure warning/lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control,
       forward-collision warning/mitigation, and drowsy driver alert. (NHTSA’s website lists the availability
       of most of these technologies for current model vehicles.)

For more information and a comprehensive list of the safety tests conducted by NHTSA and IIHS, download the full report from AAA’s Automotive Research Center.


Video Credit: IIHS

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